Tequila White Chicken Chili

Tequila White Chicken Chili

LIke spicy? Add an extra jalapeño to the pot.

Next to my reading chair I typically keep a big, messy stack of books and magazines; sometimes the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES rests there until the next Sunday rolls around. In the pile are that month’s book club books (I try and keep up with three book clubs plus a cookbook club, though I often don’t succeed) along with another new one or two someone’s told me about or loaned me. If I’m really lucky, and I often am, I also keep a precious something I can read piecemeal, a tiny bit at a time when I need to get off my feet or have an extra 10 minutes before needing to stir a pot or leave for an appointment.

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Fast Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

Fast Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

Serve with hot green tea.

Over the past five years, “bowls” have become a happily standard feature on American restaurant menus. Most feature some sort of grain (rice, quinoa, grits, barley), a well-seasoned protein, mixes of fresh and cooked vegetables, perky and tasty garnishes, and, of course, a stand out, distinctive sauce. While nearly anything goes into a bowl these days — including traditional Mediterranean or Mexican ingredients — I often find myself leaning toward the Asian-inspired varieties and am happiest if the cooks are fairly heavy-handed with the soy sauce, please.

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Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!

Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!

While chicken often tops the list of dinner ingredients in the U.S., (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” or “A chicken in every pot!”) it doesn’t take much to figure out those meals today are often based on ubiquitous, tasteless boneless chicken breasts instead of the flavorful cage-free chickens Herbert Hoover supposedly wanted for us. The American obsession with huge chicken breasts (hmph) is a sad one and continues for many reasons–one being it’s easy to not remember where meat comes from if you only have a slab of it and no fat, bones, joints, tendons, guts, or skin. I’ve had more than one adult student who, faced with putting a whole chicken (already cut up, by the way) in a skillet to brown for a tasty fricassée, admitted they had never before handled a chicken with bones. I, on the other hand, almost never buy boneless breasts, though I’ll admit I adore boneless thighs for everything from sandwiches to chili. There are several reasons–the main one being the taste factor–but here’s the critical other one. Because we demand outrageous and overwhelming numbers of inexpensive low-fat, protein rich boneless breasts (just try to buy bone-in breasts in today’s market) compared to other parts, chickens today are often–though not always– raised in incredibly poor and horrific conditions by inhumanely treated workers. How’d that come to be???

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INSTANT POT: Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Ham

INSTANT POT: Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Ham

Black-Eyed Peas… Good Luck to you in 2020!

While Christmas seems so very far away now, it’s definitely not if you’re a traditional observer. Today is the 6th day of Christmas — as in 6 Geese A-Laying, right?

The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day). The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.

vox.com

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Cranberry-Apple-Pear Coffeecake

Cranberry-Apple-Pear Coffeecake

CHRISTMAS IN A COFFEECAKE

Crud. I’ve had the crud. Dave, too. Days and days of nasty, head cold life–luckily not much else like sore throats or tummy troubles. Unable to navigate further than the kitchen, we summoned up pots of my easiest chicken soups, ordered pizza when the soup was gone, and watched as many Christmas movies as two people could handle in what ended up to be more than a week. In between, there was a snow storm that left us with several inches in the drive and on the walkways but with luckily no power outages. That meant a few gorgeous fires in the fireplace to cheer us up.

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Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread

This spicy bread is full of not only chocolate chips, but also walnuts, plump cranberries and raisins for the holiday win!

I’ll begin by saying I’ve made a little more of this bread over the last week than I ever intended. Look at that face. Just look at that face. Isn’t that sweetness canine-i-fied? Lord, I love this dog.

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almost (better than) scratch beef-barley soup

almost (better than) scratch beef-barley soup

“In the Deep Mid-Winter,” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. The verses…

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty —
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom Angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and Archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only His Mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshiped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, —
Yet what I can I give Him, —
Give my heart.

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Cheesy Ham and Turkey Chowder

Cheesy Ham and Turkey Chowder

When Thanksgiving is over and Advent has begun within a few days…

Advent, (from Latin adventus, “coming”), in the Christian church calendar, the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. In Western churches, Advent begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 (St. Andrew’s Day) and is the beginning of the liturgical year. In many Eastern churches, the Nativity Fast is a similar period of penance and preparation that occurs during the 40 days before Christmas. The date when the season was first observed is uncertain. Bishop Perpetuus of Tours (461–490) established a fast before Christmas that began on November 11 (St. Martin’s Day), and the Council of Tours (567) mentioned an Advent season.

britannica.com

(below: Next-door neighbor Mike carving the charcoal grilled turkey at his house. He cooked the bird in a disposable pan, collected the juices, and I made yummy gravy from it. I whisked a 1/4 cup or so flour into a cup of water and added that slurry to the pan- right on the stove- along with salt, pepper, and a drop or two of hot sauce.)
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Black Friday Breakfast Turkey Stack

Black Friday Breakfast Turkey Stack

This version includes the cheese sauce. Sure, we need just a little more gooey cheese the day after Thanksgiving. You know it!

Working ahead on Thanksgiving food is truly a happy, hearty, fulfilling, and filling part of my job as a food blogger. That activity usually includes coming up with something new to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a fun occupation that keeps me, and, of course my husband Dave and the babies (see below), right on top of our game this week.

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Appetizer, First Course, and Side: Old Stars Shine Anew for Thanksgiving

Appetizer, First Course, and Side: Old Stars Shine Anew for Thanksgiving

Using this as an appetizer? Yay! Pair it with a California Sauvignon Blanc. Add some crackers or fresh veggies to the plate; there should be plenty of cheese to spread around. (Oh! Are those red pepper flakes on that cauliflower? Why, yes; they are!)

…scroll down to bottom for links to many things thanksgiving–crafts for kids, wine advice, music….

When it’s only a week until Thanksgiving, we can go one of two ways: bury our heads in the sand of the past and recreate each and every one of the holidays gone by — could do that with your eyes closed, right; would it be so bad? —or what about spend a little time thinking about trying, even learning something new–perhaps in the way of Thanksgiving sides? If you’ve been reading along lately, you’ll know I’m totally taken with the idea of a curated Thanksgiving. That is to say, a more dinner party-ish meal– not dinner party-ish as in fancy pants table settings or overly-priced sparkling wines served in frighteningly expensive flutes, but rather in a limited number of precisely considered, perfect dishes. Ok, just ones that taste good, not necessarily perfect-perfect. One vegetable instead of 6. 2 desserts in the place of the buffet of pumpkin and pecan lovelies. A beautiful meal, not an eat-all-you-can til you bust your britches buffet. Less cleanup. Fewer leftovers. More energy for a round or two of Hearts or to watch “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” that all-but-required Thanksgiving movie. No, no. Don’t start the Christmas movies, please. Even football is better than that. Give Thanksgiving its due, its own time. Let’s not mash our day of gratefulness all up into December madness.

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